This 320-million-year old volcanic island off the coast of North Berwick is the largest single rock gannetry in the world, inhabited by more than 150,000 birds during breeding season. Says naturalist Simon Barnes: “You think nature is not for you and then you go to Bass Rock and see how wonderful and how easy it can be. Bass Rock is a portal, open to everyone. It says: ‘Welcome to the wild world. Come in and find a lifetime of joys’.”
Runner up: Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Norfolk
Four miles of shingle spit on the North Norfolk coastline offers an ideal haven for spectacular birdlife and wildlife, which capitalise on the protection it affords Blakeney Harbour and the surrounding saltmarshes. Visitors can delight in the grey seal colony in winter and the tern breeding colony in summer.